August is slow in finance. So, I was really happy to receive an unexpected email that I had $10.5 million waiting for me. All I needed to do was send my ID number and my address and I would be rich, rich, rich. I decided to play along with Ms. Agatha Harris from Sierra Leone, who is unfortunately suffering from cancer. On her death bed, she wants to make sure that her money goes to another God-fearing individual who will do good with her money.
Things were going swimmingly. Turns out, that as part of my own KYC and AML diligence, I discovered the sources of the funds (her deceased husband was apparently a bigwig at the Economic Community of West African States and received various contracts for some type of work). That part wasn’t so clear but it was readily apparent that I needed to move quickly or Ms. Harris, who by the way has an email address from the large South Korean portal, Naver, could pass, rendering her estate to the state and its greedy paws.
I was ready to pounce on this opportunity. Before rendering my details, I quickly wrote back to Agatha and inquired about the currency she wanted to transfer me. I mean, nowadays, who really wants more than $10 million in US bills? Or rubles? Ok, maybe Chinese renminbi but anything but the greenback.
Better yet, I thought I’d ask Ms. Harris if she was prepared to transfer me the money in bitcoins. “Is it possible to be paid in bitcoins?” I asked. “With the current instability in global markets and the government’s growing encroachment on personal liberties, I prefer to transact in digital, cryptocurrencies, in spite of the lack of support from the global financial incumbents and disruptors.”
I thought this was a reasonable request, but unfortunately for me, Agatha went quiet. I decided to try again. Maybe she has an issue with the most well-known cryptocurrency after all the stories about its use in nefarious activities. Perhaps ethereum would prove easier to deal with.
“If bitcoin proves to be too hard to convert to, I’m also OK with ethereum (the old version, before the fork),” I emailed.
Again, silence. Maybe my interlocutor was in favor of the fork. I don’t know. I was getting desperate. No dice on the bitcoin or ethereum. Maybe she’d go for PayPal, Square Cash, or even Popmoney. Seems I pushed my luck there, too. No answer.
So, that’s the moral of the story. If you want to shut down an email scammer, ask for payment in bitcoins.